How to Clean a Kitchen

Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | December 13, 2011

Cleaning a kitchen might seem like a no-brainer, but using the wrong cleaning product can actually do damage. Many modern surfaces in the kitchen require specialized cleansers to make them shine. Using a scrubber on a particular type of countertop might be just fine, but using it on another type of material could be a big mistake. Though you might choose specialized products for a few areas of your kitchen, there are some kitchen cleaning products that are always good to have on hand.

How to clean a kitchen with common household items

Before you turn to expensive cleansers or harsh chemicals to treat common issues in the kitchen, look into items you probably already have in the house. Not only can they save time and money, those items can be much easier on the materials of your countertops, cabinets and floors.

  • Vinegar. Use vinegar and baking soda to clean and sweeten drains.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide. Mix this with a few drops of ammonia and water, then use to gently soak and scrub away wine stains from a stone countertop.
  • Superfine steel wool. Any steel wool product should be used carefully and sparingly. Use the finest available to buff out rough spots on stone countertops, and use a hardier version to handle scratches in your stainless steel.
  • Baking soda. Mixed with vinegar, it does a great job of cleaning. Mix it with a touch of water to create a paste that gets down deep into grout and helps remove dirt.
  • Salt. Salt can work wonders on cast iron. Simply mix salt with a bit of vegetable oil and use the scrub to clean your cast iron skillets, trivets and more.
  • Simple detergent. A mild dish detergent is perfect for everything from grease on walls to most countertops and sinks.

Orderly cleaning offers best results

No matter what cleansers you use in your kitchen, always start from the top down. For instance, dust the range hood before you move to the stove, or dust off the windowsill before you move to the sink. Then hit the difficult spots, such as the grease on the oven or that strange stain on the refrigerator door. Move to the countertops, polishing them with the proper cleanser for their type. It is often helpful to use a different cloth or cleaning rag for each section of the kitchen.

Save the floor for last on your cleaning list. Start by sweeping it thoroughly, then use the proper cleanser as directed to mop, shine or wax your kitchen floor. Finally, step back and admire the sparkle.